Feel Past Your Sell-By-Date?

EDDIE ROWLANDS and his wife Heather are “retired”. But that has not stopped them ministering for Christ. In 1979 they went to Margate, England, following 24 years as missionaries in D R Congo with CAM International. They are now on the pastoral team at an evangelical church in Margate.

Eddie shares with us an encouragement from his own experience.

I love Worcestershire sauce!

Browsing through the condiments in the guesthouse at the Living Waters Centre in Lubumbashi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, I find a bottle almost full of it. My heart leaps for joy as I see the familiar label. I think I could enjoy Worcester sauce with anything, although so far I haven’t tried it with Corn Flakes!

Eddie examines an old bottle of Worcester sauce
Eddie gazes dreamily at the beloved bottle!

I pick up the dark brown bottle and lovingly grasp it in both hands. Yes! The genuine article! Then, out of curiosity I look for the sell-by date.

Wiping the bottle neck, I can just make out the inscription: “Best Before NOV 2001.” To be strictly honest, I’m not sure if it says ‘USE before’, ‘SELL before’ or ‘BEST before’. It’s a bit faded.

The first word is obscure, but there’s no mistaking the date. Whatever it is, it has to be done before NOV 2001. Interesting, because it’s now MAR 2006!

Vintage flavour

Gazing dreamily at the bottle, I begin to wonder: Who bought it? When? Why was it bought and never used? How long before NOV 2001 did it leave the manufacturers? Wow! It could be ten years old – or more!

I prise off the cap and tip a bit onto my finger. Mmmm – it tastes good! In fact, if anything – better!

Should I use it? Or should I just leave it for future guests to ponder over and possibly slosh over their chicken and rice?

However, this is Worcester Sauce, and in fact it is still good. I’ve made up my mind – I’m going to use it! At every meal (except breakfast!) it’ll have pride of place on our table. I’ll shake it up, pour it out and enjoy its now vintage flavour.

Wake up and shake up!

A bit like my life! How often do I feel past my sell-by, use-by, or even my best-before date? But the fact is that with God there are no sell-by dates!

Is there a reader today feeling like that – past it, tired or unused? Let me tell you from personal experience, it is possible to feel like that at any age. “Even the young men will grow faint and weary” (Isaiah 40:30).

But, whoever you are and however old you are, as a Christian you have no sell-by date. Wake up and shake up!

You have not been ‘bought’ to stand unused, but to be used as a blessing. Start right now – bring flavour to someone’s life.

Let God pour you out!

Ask God to pick you up and pour you out in the direction of a friend, neighbour or workmate. You can depend on it – they are reading your label! Come out of your hiding place, or off your shelf – out where you can be seen and heard and where your life can be a blessing.

This article was first published in CONTACT, the CAM monthly news magazine. We use it here with kind permission of the author.

You may also like to read can God Use Me?

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